Bob Dylan’s 'going electric' guitar headed to auction block

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The 1965 Fender Telecaster guitar played by folk-rock singer and songwriter Bob Dylan during his first electric tour. (Julien's Auctions)

The legendary 1965 Fender Telecaster guitar played by folk-rock singer and songwriter Bob Dylan during his first electric tour is headed to the auction block in May and is expected to bring in $400,000 to $600,000.

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Dylan used the guitar in 1966 while on tour with his backing band, the Hawks, which would later be renamed The Band, sharing it with Robbie Robertson. The guitar can be heard on Dylan’s 1966 album “Blonde on Blonde” and “The Basement Tapes,” from 1975.

Robertson, the longtime owner of the famed Telecaster, played it on some of The Band’s most famous albums including 1968’s “Music from Big Pink,” which included “The Weight,” one of its best-known songs. The guitar was also used a year later on its eponymous album “The Band,” containing “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.”

The guitar was also used during The Band’s performances at Woodstock, Isle of Wight, Festival Express and Watkins Glen. Dylan and Robertson shared the guitar during The Band’s Rock of Ages shows in 1971.

Throughout its life, the guitar has undergone changes. In 1970, Robertson had the guitar stripped of its black finish down to bare wood and would later further modify the instrument in ways that Robinson said “seemed to give it a new life, along with a different creative surge.”

The 1965 Fender Telecaster guitar played by folk-rock singer and songwriter Bob Dylan during his first electric tour. (Julien's Auctions)

In addition to Dylan and Robertson, the guitar has been played by other rock legends including The Band’s Levon Helm, ex-Beatle George Harrison, famed guitarist Eric Clapton and others.

"This guitar has been on the front lines of so many phenomenal events,” Robertson said. "I gaze at it with amazement. When I think about all the creativity this guitar has been a part of, I’m still blown away."

The electric guitar will headline day two of the Julien’s Auctions rock ‘n’ roll Music Icons sale on May 19 at the Hard Rock Cafe in New York City.

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